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First Service helps with keys to home ownership

First Service helps with keys to home ownership

First Service bankers are all about helping customers make their dreams of owning a home a reality. 

Just ask Darla McJunkins at the bank’s Clinton location. She is senior vice president of commercial loan sales and senior lender.

“We love having the opportunity to work with our borrowers to help them make their dreams come true with their home, autos or other purchases,” she said. 

Darla suggests that those interested in building a home complete an application with a lender to determine a pre-qualified amount. “Once you have a dollar amount, you can start getting with builders and begin working on house plans and bids,” she said. “You will want to get a couple of bids to compare pricing. As for the house plans, I always think it’s a good idea for the borrower to look at several plans and look at several homes to see what layouts work best for them.”  

The loan process is similar for purchasing a home as well as refinancing. “The paperwork is very similar whether it is a construction loan, refinance of a home or the purchase of a home,” Darla said. “There are a few differences, but for the most part there is similar documentation and requirements. You will need title insurance, home owner’s insurance and a current appraisal on the property on each of these types of loans.” 

In addition to applying in-person at any First Service location, an application can be completed online by going to the Loans, Mortgage Loans and then Apply Now tab. “You will be able to complete the application and submit any supporting documentation that is needed.”

Documentation that will be needed to complete the application:

  • •Two full years filed tax returns, with all W-2’s and 1099’s associated with the returns.
  • •Most recent 30-day paystubs for all borrowers.
  • •A copy of the driver’s license for all borrowers.
  • •Bank statements for the most recent two months.
  • •A completed financial statement.   

“If you are purchasing property, then we will need a copy of the offer and acceptance, including the full legal description,” Darla said. “If you are refinancing a property, then we will need a copy of the deed or survey showing the full legal description. If you are building a home, we will need the full legal description for the property being purchased, the house plans, the builder’s cost estimate and the proof of insurance.”

Once the bank receives all the documentation, a pre-approval determination typically can be made in 24 to 48 hours. “When it involves real estate, we are required to order title insurance and an appraisal so these can take up to three or four weeks.”  

To help make the process go smoother, Darla said the bank needs all the information requested to provide a quick response. “If the borrower can bring it all in at once it does make things go smoother and quicker.” 

Darla said there are some common misconceptions when it comes to applying for a loan. “There are many times a customer thinks that things will fall off their credit or that something shouldn’t be showing on their credit if they just co-signed for someone,” she said. “Many times, customers have credit issues due to signing for someone that did not handle their payments well.”  

“Always be aware of what is on your credit report and make sure the information is correct. If you see an error, work diligently to get it corrected.”  

Darla has some words of advice for young people who one day will be applying for a loan. “I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to keep your credit in good standing,” she said. “Whether it’s a large payment or a small payment, make a conscious effort to make sure all bills are paid on time. This will help you greatly over the years as you have financing needs that arise.”  

Planning ahead for an anticipated payment, whether a house or car, is important, according to Darla. “If you think you can handle the payment, a good way to find out is to start saving that payment amount for a few months before you leap into debt. If you handle the payment fine, then you can feel comfortable taking on the debt and you will have saved up some money for a down payment.”

Darla and other First Service lenders are eager to meet with customers considering a home purchase. “We consider it an honor and will assist the borrower all the way through the process,” she said.